Should we take Italian nuclear waste?
So an industry CEO tells E&E News that nuclear is the only non-carbon baseload power (not!) and that therefore nuclear is our only future and since the United States does such a great job of dealing with low-level radioactive waste, we should become the world’s repository.
That would be the logic of one Steve Creamer, CEO of EnergySolutions, “a full-service nuclear fuel cycle company” (in contrast to all of those “partial-service nuclear fuel cycle companies,” sometimes called electric utilities).
Why shouldn’t we take the world’s low-level radioactive waste? asks Creamer. Other countries take our recycled computers [!], so it’s the perfect division of global labor:
Monica Trauzzi: But why should the U.S. be a dumping ground for other countries’ waste?
Steve Creamer: We don’t believe it is a dumping ground. I know, when you look around the world you say, OK, the computer sitting on your desk and there, when it’s recycled, where does it go? Does it go to the U.S.? No. It goes to China or it goes to Taiwan or goes to Thailand and there they recycle it. Well, there’s hazardous waste in that. That material does not come back to the U.S., it stays there. What we’re talking about doing is supporting an industry where we can do things that no one else can do. Just like China can recycle our computers like we can’t do here and they take a small amount of byproducts left there. We’re talking about taking the byproducts off of doing something that’s good to help energy security and global warming and what we’re trying to do and support nuclear energy worldwide.
Sure, they get our old PCs, we get their radioactive waste. That is the best deal I’ve seen since some Nigerian offered to send me millions of dollars if I would only send them a few thousand dollars. Well, all I can say is, Barrister Buba Moha of Lagos, where is my money? Why won’t you return my calls? Can I interest you in some low-level radioactive waste from Italy?